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Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

Reviewed by Nathan A., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School.

Can you think of an environment where you're traveling from foster parent to foster parent and none of them like you? Where you always run away from them only to be found by the authorities again? No friends, no fun, and a feeling that you'll never be happy again? Well, that's the life of Hollis Woods, the main character in the amazing and action-packed book Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff. This is a book about a girl who has no family and everyone hates her. They think she's a mountain of trouble. But she meets one of the only foster parents she'll ever like and want to stay with. I'm absolutely positive that Pictures of Hollis Woods will make you feel happier than you've ever been in your life!

In Pictures of Hollis Woods, Hollis meets Josie Cahill, an older artist who is great with foster kids. So the authorities think they should put Hollis there. As it turns out, she likes Josie. Josie is the only person who's been nice to her since the Regan family. Hollis felt like she'd never ever be this happy again in her life. Josie, it seems, likes her too and takes care of her, but the Social Services don't want Hollis to live with Josie. If they move her, Josie will be living alone (except for her cat Henry) and they will move Josie away as well. Her cousin Beatrice went to California to have a fun vacation, so Hollis has no help from anyone else. So in the winter, as it gets closer to Christmas and school is out, Hollis takes Josie and Henry to the Regan’0s summer house, the one she used to live in.

As Josie starts to get older, she starts to forget things. She's clueless why they moved to the Regan's house and doesn't understand that the Social Services are on the hunt for them. Hollis is doing her best to look out for her and Josie, and just have a wonderful Christmas that she has ever had before. Hollis wishes that she could go back in time and redo the wrong things she did so that she didn't have to mess up the Regan family like she thinks she did. She just wants to be happy again and have some people who truly love her. What can she do, besides just go through the motions?

Pictures of Hollis Woods was a fantastic book that was emotional in many ways. I was wondering what would happen next at the end of each chapter, trying to predict what would happen next. It felt like I was on a roller coaster falling off a cliff. Pictures of Hollis Woods is a depressing tale of a girl who was all alone until a foster parent named Josie came into her life. I wonder how someone would feel if they had the life of Hollis Woods. It's unimaginable how a twelve-year-old girl could be so alone!

If I could go back in time and read Pictures of Hollis Woods again, I would. It's that great. It made me feel so grateful for having the family and friends that I have right now. I don't think I could have cried, but it was still sad, but all stories have a great ending, don't they? I thought it would be boring at first, but it turned out to be more action-packed than I thought. Who could imagine someone who has no friends, no family, and everyone hates that person? The joy of reading Pictures of Hollis Woods was unbelieveable. I couldn't stop reading it until it was done! Patricia Reilly Giff has created an unforgettable book to read!
I would probably recommend Pictures of Hollis Woods for someone who likes to read books about family and about people who are troublemakers, who mess up everything they do. But I really think Pictures of Hollis Woods could be for anyone looking for a good book. So consider the possibility and have a great time reading!

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